SPECT/CT for sentinel lymph node mapping in head and neck melanoma

Head Neck. 2011 Jan;33(1):1-6. doi: 10.1002/hed.21392.


Background: The additional value of single photon emission computed tomography with CT (SPECT/CT) for detection and localization of sentinel nodes in patients with a melanoma of the head and neck was determined.

Methods: Thirty-eight patients received conventional lymphoscintigraphy followed by hybrid SPECT/CT. The number of sentinel nodes visualized and anatomic information provided were analyzed. Changes in surgical approach due to additional information from the SPECT/CT were evaluated in 20 patients.

Results: SPECT/CT visualized a mean of 2.6 sentinel nodes per patient (range, 1-6). SPECT/CT depicted an additional sentinel node in 16% of the patients and clearly showed the anatomic location of the hot nodes in all patients. The surgical approach was adjusted on the basis of SPECT/CT images in 11 patients (55%).

Conclusion: SPECT/CT visualizes more sentinel nodes than conventional images and shows their anatomic location. SPECT/CT is recommended in patients with a melanoma in the head or neck.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy / methods*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Young Adult